No matter what jersey he wears -- whether it read Proctor, Alexandria, or UW-Superior -- Twig, Minn. native Ian Ecklund has always made an impact.
"Ian is just one of the guys who makes the team tick," said Yellowjackets head coach Rich McKenna. "He's just an all-around really good 200-foot player."
Following an All-Lake Superior Conference performance in high school and a two-year stint in the NA3HL, Ecklund now is a senior captain for the Yellowjackets.
"I knew after freshman year that we were lucky to have him on our team," said Yellowjackets senior forward Dylan Nelson. "He's just gotten better every single year."
The points have always been there for Ecklund. As a sophomore in 2015-16, the forward led UW-Superior with 29 of them. Back then, however, it was mainly assists.
"Traditionally, I'm more of a set-up guy and I try to see the ice," he said.
But now, he's finding the twine more and more.
"He'll help you on your power play. We even use him in shorthanded situations as well," said McKenna. "If we need a goal, up by a goal, down by a goal, he's an all-situation guy."
"Just a really smart player," said Nelson. "In the right place at the right time. Has a ton of skill, but also is willing to do the little things that skill players don't want to do."
Simply put, Ecklund's a stud. The only thing that's been able to stop him are injuries. Last season, as a junior, he was out nearly half the year, playing in only 16 games.
"I hurt both my knees and got a concussion," said Ecklund. "So I spent a lot of time out of the lineup. Every time I would get back, it seemed like something else would happen. Just kind of an unlucky year for me."
Despite that, though, he still tallied 17 points for the Yellowjackets. And the good news is he's now back to full health and back to his old tricks.
"All summer, I worked on both the knees and feel better than ever right now."
So it would seem this winter if Ecklund goes, so will the Yellowjackets.
"He's off to a hot start this year," said Nelson. "And if we can keep him going we'll be looking pretty good."